Clinton’s varsity Dark Horses made it exciting for fans who followed their team to Richlands Monday night, sinking a pair of free throws with just a few seconds on the clock to win the game 61-58.
The varsity boys, now 13-5 overall and 6-2 in conference play, are alone in second place.
The Horses jumped out to an early 24-14 lead in the first quarter, but the home-playing Wildcats weren’t going away either, playing neck and neck with the visitors, trailing by 10 — 37-27 — at the break.
Clinton pushed further ahead in the third quarter, with a 15-point lead by the beginning of the fourth period, but, coach Randy Jordan said the team got careless with the ball in the final frame and a determined Richlands team cut deeper and deeper into the Dark Horse lead.
“We got careless and Richlands played hard,” Jordan stressed, “and our lead melted away.”
But Clinton played hard down the stretch, executing both their offense and defense to near perfection, hitting free throws at key times to hold onto their lead and get the win.
Clinton’s J.C. Evans was 3 for 3 at the line in the last three minutes and Ryan Chester was 3 for 4 in the last three minutes, hitting his last two with just 15 ticks left on the clock, giving the Horses the 3-point lead and the win.
Jordan praised the overall play of his team, saying he saw great effort from his team. “We came out and did a good job defensively. The guys were unselfish, playing what we like to call Dark Horse basketball.”
Demontio Bryant, he said hit four 3-pointers during the game. Wil Pearson had 9 points and 9 rebounds and Evans came away with 15 points and 8 assists.
Jordan also offered his thanks to Clinton’s fans and cheerleaders, noting how important their support was to the team.
“Their support has been tremendous at home and on the road. We’ve had great crowds and their support has been tremendous. I really can’t say enough about how much they do for the guys, and I thank them for it,” Jordan said.
Clinton plays what Jordan calls a really big game with Croatan Tuesday night, a team they defeated by only one point the first time out.
“We’ve got six games left, and I’ve told my guys they control their destiny.”